Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The BACKPACKERS and Marion Give Back

The BACKPACKERS Gives Back: 
Marion's Birthday Celebration with a HEART
November 5, 2011
Quezon City Memorial Circle

While many people in the world think of having a party purely with bottles and shot glasses on their birthdays, Marion Macapagal preferred to celebrate hers with a kind heart above anything else.

To note, this was Marion's second year of spending her big day with a selfless act. And, for us, The BACKPACKERS, she deserved all the support that she could get from the Group because as we always say "we are family".

It was on October 26, 2011 when Marion approached the BP Lead, Ivan Ignacio, and expressed the kind of event she wanted to have in celebration of her birthday - a "give back". With immeasureable amount of enthusiasm, Ivan drafted the itinerary and initiated planning. As soon as Marion's wish was cascaded, the Group wholeheartedly welcomed the idea and started working on it. The BP members then also started pledging for toys and other forms of contribution.

 "Gawa tayo ng Event dito sa facebook!" said Clue Fajardo. "That's a great idea! In that way madami makakaalam sa cause and who knows people would donate," agreed by Heinz Alvarez. "'Di ako marunong eh..." said Marion. "Ako na ang gagawa," Clue's assurance.

That was the conversation the three BP's had when they happened to be online at the same time on Facebook a night before the calendar switched to November.

Indeed, Clue did a great job in creating an Event on Facebook which openned the gate for more and more blessings that came in to be shared with Marion's selected beneficiaries - 25 kids from Brgy. Pag-Asa, Quezon City.  

Once again, The BP Headquarters became very busy when the preparations were in full swing managed by Jovy Duremdes, Liz Honrade, and Angel Cawaling; while Frank Aguilar and Ralph Flores took care of the logistics and assembled stuff needed for kiddie games.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

The Big Day

Dennis Piano "Deepee" and Heinz decided to be at the venue as early as 10:30 AM to make sure that it is completely ready. And it was. Pavillion 2 of the Quezon City Memorial Circle was found conducive for Marion's birthday party with the kids. The place was noticeably clean and in order. All that Deepee and Heinz needed to do was to arrange the monoblock chairs and tables.

Back at the BP Headquarter, the Group labored on final preparations.

The BACKPACKERS with the celebrant arrived at the venue at noontime. No single minute was wasted prior to the program. The venue was transformed into a children's party place! Balloons fenced the Pavillion and some were freely scattered. Mon Sarmiento made sure that the rope support for "Palayok" and "Pabitin" that were full of candies, gummies, lollipops, and coins were sturdy. A caricature of Astro Boy was perched above an area that served as the stage.

 At around 02:00 PM the children arrived. They were guided by their Ate's and Kuya's from an organization called "Spirit if Love". Innocent faces filled up the venue. The BP's and the celebrant herself could not stop themselves from greeting those kids, hugging them, and making them feel at home. Indeed, that afternoon, the spirit of love was overflowing.

Ralph Flores and his minor co-emcees Heinz and Jovy attempted to start the program right away, but something happened. It rained. It was a heavy rain. Needless to say, the show must go on. Marion wanted it. And The BP's, were dying to make those kids happy. That rain, for the Group, was very symbolic. It was a pouring blessing similar to what Marion and the Group had received from the sponsors that made the gifts very sufficient. Everybody had snacks for the meantime and When the rain had slightly stopped, the hosts pushed the program through.

Back at The BP Headquarter, Bogs Hernandez and Contessa Cirujales were busy preparing the Group's food and clearing up the space for a big night - The BACKPACKERS Exclusive Celebration of Marion's Birthday!

Weng Topasi led the opening prayer followed by the celebrant's short but very welcoming message. True enough, Marion would rather have the spotlight focused on the kids making the event purely a "give back".

After introducing the Ate's and Kuya's to the children, the games began! Bring me, Paper dance, Basag Palayok, Trip to Jerusalem, Paper dance with Ate's and Kuya's, and Longest line were the games played. All the kids were very excited to join the games and their energy to cheer for their playmates during face-offs was infectious! And when York Advento arrived, the kids were showered with candies, lollipops, and other sweets.

Marion's mom arrived just in time when the kids have had enough of fun already. She gave a heartfelt message to her daughter and thanked the Group and the people who supported the event. Definitely, The BACKPACKERS did not miss the chance to have a picture with Marion's mom as they were thankful to have a member who's sweet, sincere, and a trustworthy friend named 'Marion Erica Macapagal".

Everybody was treated with a sumptous party meal specially prepared by the celebrant's mom. The kids were delighted to see their favorite party food - spaghetti, hotdogs on sticks with mallows, friend chicken, and macaroni salad.

A surprise number courtesy of "Dhane", Mon's friend, made the crowd singing along with the song "If I Aint Got You".

Before closing the program, Marion spearheaded the gift-giving. Each child received his and her fair share of school supplies, toiletries, candies, toys, and biscuits. They also received old-but-still-decent clothes.

It was already past five in the afternoon when the event was approaching its end. So Marion and the rest of The BP's gave it all - danced with the kids, bade "till next time", played with the kids, and posed with the kids. The celebrant gave her thank you's before sending the kids home.

It was an event where love and care were expressed to those kids coming from families with limited resources. A "memorable birthday celebration" for Marion, as she described it. And a successful and meaningful endeavor supported by The BACKPACKERS.

Text by: Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.
Photos by: Frank Aguilar


The BACKPACKERS who, in one way or another, gave back and shared blessings with 25 children:

Marion Macapagal
Ivan Ignacio
Clue Fajardo
York Advento
Liz Honrade
Jovy Duremdes
Ralph Flores
Dennis Piano
Angel Cawaling
Frank Aguilar
Weng Topasi
Contessa Cirujales
Mon Sarmiento
Bogs Hernandez
Heinz Alvarez

Special thanks to...

OM Harlyn Moreno
TL Stanly Go
Mr & Mrs Christopher Decano
Michelle Fabellar
Aidyl Rose Saulo
Angelica Pineda
Ann Marie Baylon
April Lajom
Chary Asejo
Dane Sarmiento
Dang Topasi
Desiree Eve Maano
Erianne Cancillar
Hector Abraham
Jose Victor Gonzales
Julie Soberano
Louise Delizo
Margie Ramirez
Melchor Jamora
Paul Vincent Sarte
Ramon Pleno Jr.
Raymond Napao
Rolando Cailes
Shannah Melissa Rodil
Vanessa Villareal

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